Archie and the Bear, by Zanni Louise and David Mackintosh
Genre: Illustrated children’s fiction (ages 3+)
Published: May 2017, Little Hare
In a nutshell
Archie and the Bear is a quirky story about the friendship that develops between a highly imaginative boy and bear who both insist on living their lives in their own way. It reminded me of my own 4-year-old son!
What it’s about
Archie is a boy who wears a bear suit, insists that he is a bear and gets snooty with anyone who says he’s only pretending.
One day Archie goes off to the woods in a huff and meets a bear… who is wearing a boy suit. The bear insists he is a boy and gets irritated with Archie when he suggests otherwise.
In other words, Archie meets his match.
Unperturbed, Archie works with the bear to find things to do which bring them both joy and comfort. A friendship develops.
What I thought of it
Archie and the Bear is perfect for kids who have highly active imaginations and are at the age where the real and made-up worlds are often inextricably intertwined.
I say this as a parent of a child who needs his room ‘spider-checked’ before he goes to sleep each night because he is quite convinced that spiders will magically ‘spawn’ in his bedroom during the night. Thank you, Minecraft…
It’s lovely to read – as a parent, it flows well and there’s plenty to talk about along the way.
My kids (aged 4 and 6) found the pictures of the bear a little scary at first, but were won over by Archie’s response to him, and the bear’s care of Archie. The illustrations certainly capture a child’s perspective of size – elastic and sometimes wildly out of proportion when compared to an adult perspective.
One of my favourite parts of the book is where Archie is growled at by a MASSIVE bear who appears to be about twenty times his size. Archie’s response is to basically shrug and offer him a honey sandwich. Because boys like sandwiches. And bears like honey. Problem solved.
I admire his ability to find a creative solution.
Archie and the Bear is now available from all good bookstores in Australia.
Disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher for the purpose of review.